August, 2014

25 August
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Buzz Eats a Strawberry… Sort Of!

This week has been quite eventful because Buzz has eaten his first bit of food that isn’t milk (Yes, I know milk is liquid and theatrically a drink, but it’s classed as bubba food, so please don’t think I’ve lost the plot here). For a little while Buzz has been really watching us when we eat, he’s even gone as far as moving his mouth along with us as though he’s tasting it – then, the other day he made a sudden grab for the food on my plate (perhaps he’s been plotting this move for a while – like something from Prison Break, waiting for a some slack behaviour on mummy’s part before making a dash for it). After lots of recommendations from friends, we’ve decided to try Baby Led Weaning, so instead of giving liquidised food you give proper food in grab-able pieces or sticks for them to play with and then eventually eat. Whereas the normal way of weaning teaches them to swallow first, BLW allows them to learn about the muscles in their mouths and the art of chewing, it also encourages babies to learn about food through play and discovery. Making food fun and interesting, rather than something mummy keeps popping into his mouth whenever she tricks him into opening it, sounded very appealing to me. Ha!

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So on Saturday morning at breakfast we decided to give in to his pleading eyes and allow Buzz his first food experience. While he was sat in his high chair (he always sits with us at breakfast), we gave him a strawberry. We were amazed when he picked it up and took it straight into his mouth with precision and ease, as though he knew exactly what he was doing! He pulled a few funny faces at its sweetness, but other than that it looked like he had a thoroughly good time with it. As you can see, he made a total mess. Actually, I know the mess is one thing that really worries some people about this method (If you’re a clean freak then this definitely isn’t for you), but we found it highly amusing to watch him play and discover as he bashed, mushed and sucked.

If you’re interested in BLW, I’d suggest reading up on it first to know what foods you should use and to understand more about the technique – we’ve read BLW books by Gill Rapley and Tracey Murkett. I’ll keep you up dated on our progress.

Also this week…

My brother Mario nominated me and Tom to do the ALS/MND Ice Bucket Challenge. Naturally we accepted – it’s all in the name of charity and raising awareness, after all. I’m ashamed to admit that I knew NOTHING about this disease before all these cold and wet videos started flying around this week. Beyond all the laughter and chattering teeth are the people affected by the horridness of ALS/MND and it’s their videos that have really opened my eyes, moved me and educated us all. If you haven’t already, check out the video ESPN made about how Peter Frates kick started the challenge for ALS (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yCoKB_tU9ng) and then another by Anthony Carbajal (http://youtu.be/h07OT8p8Oik).

Once you watch these you’ll see why you should do the challenge (fish out a bucket and some ice) if you’ve been nominated AND why you should donate – text ICED55 followed by the amount you’d like to give to 70070.

Like many new mums, I worry about SIDS and am constantly checking that Buzz is okay in his cot. I am also concerned about the fact that his head has become a little flat from lying on his back on a hard mattress – something that happens to many babies with the current sleeping guidelines. So, I was delighted when PurFlo asked if I wanted to try out their breathable mattress on Buzz’s cotbed (it’s happening – he’s almost big enough to go into his own bedroom at night… Waaaah!). The mattress came in a lovely little box with easy to follow assembly instructions – that’s right, you build it by slotting together metal poles and then wriggling on its cover, which is made up of a mesh-like material and holds Buzz as though he’s sleeping on a firm hammock. Actually it’s nothing like that – it’s much sturdier and supportive. I wish I had one for myself!

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I had a realisation this week that I’ve been hiding in the comfort of my home and that, if I wasn’t careful, the thought of heading out of it and seeing my friends would become too overwhelming to manage with Buzz in tow. Therefore, I decided enough was enough – I needed to see a few of my besties, and so, I gathered Katy, Sav and Lauren (three of the greatest girls in existence) and headed into London for one of my favourite summer past times – a picnic! Summer sun (sort of), gorgeous food (all made by Katy – a fellow veggie) and a girlie natter (we had a lot to catch up on). It was just what I needed and lovely for Buzz to have some time with my ladies!

This was followed up with a trip to Willows Activity Farm with Emma, our fab friend Joe and the mini Willis’. I thought Buzz was going to be blown away by the sight of so many different animals… but he seemed nonplussed. I think he was just playing it cool. I can’t wait to go back when he can really make full use of the petting zones and feeding them all. It’ll be so much fun.

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Hope you’ve all had fantastic bank holiday weekends!

Big love,

Gi. Xx

P.S. Tom wanted me to write something about Doctor Who. What can I say? I watched it AND I enjoyed it. With any luck he might succeed in turning me into a Whovian this series…GERONIMO!

18 August
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What made you YOU?

Over the past few years I’ve become fascinated by childhood and how, in their sponge-like manner, our young brains absorb everything and mould us into the adults we become – I’d say it’s a fairly huge theme that runs through both of my novels actually. The people we grew up with, the toys we played with, the books we read, the films we watched – they all go a long way into making you YOU. As a mum, this is obviously something that plays on my mind when it comes to Buzz whose personality is developing rapidly along with his skills set (he’s sitting up this week – see, I told you he was a clever one). I observe him daily as he watches the world with interest and I wonder who my little boy will grow up to be.

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I can’t help but look back at my childhood and think of what I was like growing up – here’s a brief insight:
· I loved the camera and having my photo taken – in fact, I searched out that flashy little contraption and was ready with a cheesy smile whenever a photo was about to be snapped.
· I loved people and being liked. I had an overwhelming urge to be accepted, something I’m sure came from being badly bullied at a young age.
· I loved reading and would go off into my own world whenever possible.
· In addition to that, I wandered around the playground singing to myself and making up little scenes in my head – my imagination was my best friend back then.
· I dressed like a boy. Not for the whole of my childhood, but for a large chunk of it. High-waisted jeans, denim shirts, DM boots, suede waistcoats… I looked a total sight!

Did these little snippets of me as a child offer clues to the adult I’d become? Perhaps. I still love photographs – although now I’m the one taking them (it was time to stop stalking the camera), want people to like me (I’ll admit that this desire is something I’ve never been able to shake off), love reading (there’s no debating that I wouldn’t be so creative now if it weren’t for the days I spent with my nose in a book or talking to myself in the playground) and I still have a questionable fashion sense (you should see what I’m wearing while writing this). It’s no wonder I look back at those early days with fondness – that little girl is as much a part of who I am now as my adult self is. Her decisions created me. I owe her a lot.

It’s that little girl who lives inside of me who wept when she heard the news of Robin Williams’ death this week. He never failed to capture her attention or put a smile on her face. What a fascinatingly funny man he was. Even though that little girl never met him, they shared a bond – she was sure of it. How deeply saddening to hear that his own world was full of so much darkness that he longed to escape. I know there’s a tendency to put those who’ve passed on a pedestal unnecessarily, but in this instance I think it’s fully deserved – for my generation he was our Genie, he was our Scottish Nanny, he was our Peter Pan. He was the adult we all trusted with our imaginations and he never failed to take us off on epic adventures.

Following on from the original theme, this weekend we took a trip to sunny Victoria Park and then to the Museum of Childhood with my sister Giorgina and Lee. A lot of the toys dated back to way before my time, but there were gems in there that brought memories flooding back – plus it’s pretty amazing to see how toys have changed over the last century or so.
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I was a very proud sister-in-law this week after seeing Tom’s sister Carrie in Les Miserables in the west end – she’s been in it for over a year now (time flies) but being pregnant and having Buzz has meant that I’ve only managed to see her a few times in the role. She’s blooming fab, though – such a star!
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Me being out meant that Granddad Falcone and my brother Mario could have some fun with Buzz – something they both relished. I’m not sure what they do with him, but the mornings after he’s been with my dad Buzz is always extremely chatty – like he’s trying to tell me all about his adventures with granddad. It’s so cute… and LOUD!
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Big Love,

Gi. Xx

11 August
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Luxury in Bath, glamping and celebrating with friends…

Since returning from York last weekend we have been extremely busy. A few of the McFamily have made the most of The Jones’ honeymoon time and jetted off to places covered in piping hot sand with beautiful views overlooked by nothing but sunshine, however, we opted to stay in the UK. Yes, a staycation it was for us – no need to faff around with flights or worrying about Buzz getting hot and bothered in the tropics. Nope. We wanted to make the most of the good English summer… and the rain!

First stop was a trip to Bath and Babington House. We’ve been wanting to explore Bath for ages, so thought we’d have a pamper at the same time. It was a lovely family outing and I can honestly say that I had the best massage of my life in their Cowshed spa. I felt so relaxed and rejuvenated afterwards – it was just what this slightly haggard mum needed. We followed up our massages with quinoa burgers, Arctic Rolls and a massive bowl of salted caramel popcorn. We certainly pigged out, but we had to make the most of our night away in luxury…

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That indulgence was followed up with some glamping! This weekend we joined my drama school friends at The Original Hut Company in East Sussex to celebrate my friend Charlie turning 30 (Happy Birthday Chuck). Two years ago we all camped, but now that there are children, babies and pregnant ladies to consider, it made sense to add a little glamour/comfort into our weekend getaway. The huts were incredibly cute and obviously eliminated a lot of camping woes… Like getting cold in the night (they were lovely and snug), waiting ages for a cuppa (they all had gas hobs and whistling kettles) and trying to change your knickers in a sleeping bag (a necessity when camping but always awkward). It was wonderful to spend some quality time together eating great food and playing games. My favourite game had to be rounders, which I’ve not played since I was a child. I’d forgotten how much I love it – and how competitive I can be. Although, I’ve been aching ever since – but that might be more to do with a crazy celebratory dance I made up. It was funny at the time but now I can barely move. Ha!

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Once we were back home, de-smoked (camping is never complete without a bonfire smell sticking to you and following you home), it was time to head into London. Two awesome friends of ours got engaged at the start of the year and they FINALLY had a little get together to mark the occasion. Congratulations Lauren and Dan!

Buzz’s world has been full of new discoveries. He’s has learnt to take his dummy out AND put it back in, which, seeing as he only has it at nap times makes the hours that are meant to be sleep-filled very entertaining. Especially since he’s also started making proper sounds. He’s literally found his voice overnight! Instead of waking up crying for attention he shouts in an adorable but extremely loud manner. Making him difficult to ignore. Also, now, I could be one of those mums sure that their little ones are advancing at a startling speed (making him a genius) but it looks like he’s attempting to crawl! Amazing seeing as he hated tummy time until two weeks ago. I’ll keep you posted…

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Sadly, I was shocked this week when I saw comments online about a glamorous fashion shoot of Olivia Wilde breastfeeding her baby. With people saying it was disgusting, that women shouldn’t ‘flaunt’ themselves in that way and that breastfeeding in public was unnecessary. I was actually outraged, and that’s not an emotion I feel very often. Perhaps it’s because of my own trials and tribulations with breastfeeding that I was left with such a strong reaction. I’ve already shared my concerns over breastfeeding in public and I’ll admit that it really made me want to stay in during the early days of mummyhood. I hated the thought of going out and Buzz suddenly becoming hungry and needing a feed. I wasn’t ready to feel so exposed and vulnerable in public. For that reason I sometimes hated going out and preferred to stay indoors. I totally admire the mums who go out and BF in public. I think they’re wonderful. My own issues with me doing it personally is all down to my own insecurities rather than my feelings towards the act. So, in response to the idiotic people online who would rather a mother feed their child in a public toilet than in comfort in a coffee shop, I decided to make a mini protest. Yep, after a few angry tweets, I found myself the following day planning our trip to Bath around me getting back into the car at midday to feed Buzz away from those members of the public who don’t like to be aware of free boobies… and I suddenly decided I wasn’t going to. Instead I found a nice park bench, grabbed my swaddle sheet for discretion and got on with it (I even took photographic evidence!)… and it was fine. No one even batted an eyelid. Incredible! I’m not saying I’m going to BF in public all the time, but it’s nice to know it’s not the petrifying debacle I thought it to be.

It tickles me the way people react to breastfeeding and milk as though it’s the sickest thing ever – yet they’re willing to drink cow’s milk which has come from a cow’s teat and is actually meant for her young calf. Hmm… which one sounds more natural to you, and which sounds a little odd for us to be drinking? It certainly gives us all some food for thought.

And finally… Danny and Georgia’s wedding photos are in this week’s Hello! magazine. Hurrah! I’ve not seen any so I’m looking forward to reading the article and reminding myself of their utterly beautiful wedding day… Georgia was THE most stunning bride I have ever seen, but then, I guess she is a model – it’s her job to make everything look fantastic. Well, she was certainly working it on her wedding day – I was mesmerized by her beauty. For those wondering, I opted for an Emma Louise London dress from www.littleblackdress.co.uk. A gorgeous, multi-coloured shift dress from one of my favourite designers.

Right, I’m off to play with my genius child.

Big love,

Giovanna
Xx

04 August
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The Flu before the McWedding!

This week was really focused around one thing for me – a trip up north to watch our two fantastic friends Danny and Georgia tie the knot. Hurrah! It was lovely to have all of the McFamily together celebrating something so magical, however, I feel it should be them who divulge all the joys of their big day – and not me! Disappointed? Don’t be – you’ll hear all about their wedding details in HELLO! soon.

Although I will say that I saw the most amazing bit of machinery on our way up to York while driving slowly through road works (it was the longest journey ever)… it was a central-reservation-building-contraption. I’m not sure that it’s oficial name, but whatever it’s called, I found it mesmerizing. It inched its way along the center of the motorway as cement was pumped and molded into a pretty wall shape.

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Yeah, okay, point taken – I need to get out more. Anyway, I’d love to wish a huge congratulations to Mr and Mrs Jones – may their marriage be filled with love and understanding, friendship and passion, laughter and smiles.

Also this week:

- I got sick! Headaches, tummy aches, aching joints and muscles, nausea, feverish… And a blooming high temperature! Turns out I’d had flu for a couple of days before I decided to see the doctor. Lovely. Luckily Buzz seems totally unaffected by it – it would be miserable to see him suffering with all of those symptoms!

- I got my hair done! By Thursday I was feeling soooo much better, so decided to pay my local Haringtons a visit for a cut and colour. I’ve had Louisa cut my hair a few times since I got pregnant last year and travelling into London became tougher for me. She’s an absolute star!

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- I’ve become addicted to Catfish the TV show. I watched the documentary last month and then loads of you told me about the TV show. Having checked it out, I’m now hooked! Funny how the internet gives us such security in talking to others and sharing our inner secrets, without us really questioning who we’re talking to. Hiding behind our screens, writing in our PJs in the comfort of our homes, it seems easy to let our guards down and let others into our lives. I find the whole thing fascinating and can’t help but feel sorry for some of the people ‘Catfishing’.

So, that’s it this week… a wedding I can’t talk about, me getting sick and my newfound love of concrete! I promise I’ll work on my fun factor for next week. Ha!

 

All my love,
Gi. Xx

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